When it comes to political territory, the Marcoses rule pretty much of Ilocos. The province is home to the Marcos Mausoleum, the Malacanang of the North, and this sort of shrine to the family across a Jollibee in a busy street. Such is Ferdinand’s popularity that there is a statue of the late president in Batac City, his hometown.
The “shrine,” or World Peace Center is this nondescript building in the middle of nowhere. In fact, Nikko and I wouldn’t have noticed it had we not crossed the road from Jollibee. The place we stopped for lunch was full, so we decided to brave the heat and walk towards the other end of the street for some grub. It was some kind of hall loaded with pictures from the Marcoses, including official-looking portraits of family members, including Borgy Manotoc. There was no one inside, no guests, not even people manning the exhibit. It was a little creepy.
The Marcos Museum and Mausoleum was more popular in Ilocos. It features memorabilia from the late president, from his time in the military to his presidency. However, the main attraction of the site is Ferdinand’s remains, fully preserved. It was kept in this crypt-like airconditioned room with artificial flowers and pagan-like statues, with soft music playing in the background. I had my doubts that it was really Marcos, because the preservation was painstakingly good, but the caretaker claimed it was really “the president.”
The mansion is an example of Filipino elegance. It’s very spacious, with a wide veranda overlooking the Paoay Lake. It’s perfect for hosting large parties, which I’m pretty sure Imelda did in her time. Despite the size, it’s warm and cozy, because of the abundance of wood and natural light. I would love to live there.